Amnesty International Australia is calling for refugees and people seeking asylum on Nauru to be urgently evacuated to Australia while they await resettlement processes owing to the deteriorating and unsafe living conditions on Nauru.
The COVID-19 outbreak on Nauru has spread to about 40 percent of the population and is causing untenable living conditions and suffering for the 112 refugees and people seeking asylum still awaiting resettlement solutions after nearly nine years of detention.
“People are distressed and now facing a terrible situation. They are running out of food with supermarkets in lockdown and they are struggling to access fresh water and medicines,” said Zaki Haidari, Refugee Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Australia.
“This cruel and failed regime of offshore processing has put refugees into this horrible situation. It is time for Australia to step in and resolve this crisis.”Zaki Haidari, Amnesty International Australia
Refugees on Nauru are under the Australian Government’s care but they have essentially been abandoned. The Australian Government must commit to ensuring the safety of all refugees trapped on Nauru in this escalating humanitarian crisis.
In light of this crisis, Amnesty is also calling on Prime Minister Albanese to use New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern’s current visit to Australia to push for an expedited and expanded resettlement deal, which was reached earlier this year under the Morrison Government.
“People were already suffering under this cruel regime, and the current crisis has only exacerbated that. Prime Minister Albanese talks a lot about doing things differently – well he has a great opportunity to do that right now,” said Elahe Zivardar, advisor to Amnesty International Australia who was detained on Nauru from 2013 to 2019.
“The Prime Minister needs to get people to safety and leverage his relationship with Prime Minister Ardern to speed up and expand the New Zealand resettlement process”Elahe Zivardar, advisor to Amnesty International Australia
Under the current arrangement, New Zealand would accept 450 refugees from Australia’s offshore detention regime over three years, leaving a shortfall of approximately 500 people who will still require permanent resettlement solutions.